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Reinventing the Wheel: Systemizing a Ride Across America

by Matt Farrell

Ever drive over the Rocky Mountains? You’ll wonder if your car can even make it over the foreboding range, with stretches up to three hundred miles wide.

Now imagine riding your bike over them – then cycling an additional 2500+ miles across the entire continent.

That’s exactly what the Ability Experience, a nonprofit organization out of Charlotte NC, leads every year.  Their small staff is tasked with finding 100 members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity to sign up for this challenge. Filling the team can be almost as fatiguing as the ride itself!

This year, Regional Director James Maloney reached out to ChapterBuilder to systemize that daunting recruitment process.

After the dust settled and 100 biker seats were filled, we reached out to the team to learn how they used growth technology to advance their amazing mission.

Matt: Tell us the “why” behind the ride, both for the Ability Experience and you personally.  

Andrew Matznick, Assistant Executive Director of Programs: At The Ability Experience, we are striving to create a community, one relationship at a time, where the abilities of all people are recognized and valued. One way that we do that is through two cycling programs, one that travels across the state of Florida and one cross-country event. These programs provide opportunities for men of Pi Kappa Phi to meet new friends with various types of disabilities through a variety of shared experiences and spread a message of acceptance and inclusion in communities across the country.

Cycling across the country is an adventure in itself, but when you add the mission component, it truly becomes a life-changing event.

Basil Lyberg, CEO: My goal is to serve our two part mission— 1) to allow the men of Pi Kappa Phi to realize their own potential through his challenging event and 2) [providing] real-life experiences in realizing the abilities of all people.

When we break the mission down it is creating friendships that connect people in a world that sometimes can be only connected at a surface level.

Matt: What are the main goals do you track while recruiting for the ride? 

Andrew: Between our two cycling events, our goal is to recruit over 100 participants.

Matt: Historically, you’ve had to recruit way beyond your initial timeline – sometimes into May for the June ride. What other problems from your past system were you hoping better technology could solve? 

Basil: We turned to ChapterBuilder because September – November is our critical point to fill these spots. With COVID-19 distractions and stresses, we weren’t getting the traction we wanted on our recruitment.

To hit our goals, we had to change our tactics because the old recruitment “go-to’s” just weren’t working. Our old system didn’t have the ease of getting leads and had just a tinge of complexity that was holding us back and ultimately slowing us down. We needed to be more nimble, and ChapterBuilder provided that platform for us.

Andrew: It allowed us to make a full-team recruitment blitz to fill our teams. [ChapterBuilder] centralized our tracking and communications to potential team members, which in turn has allowed our staff to work more efficiently as a team and contact more potential team members in a shorter amount of time than in the previous year.

Matt: Some people only see ChapterBuilder as a growth shortcut or texting tool. How did you use it as managers?

Basil: ChapterBuilder allowed us to get very granular on our targets. We could see when team members were performing and when they weren’t. It was easier to have faster conversations and cut through the excuses (don’t get me wrong, sometimes valid) of why we weren’t hitting the mark on our outreach goals.

Andrew: In the first week, we were able to upload an excel spreadsheet with hundreds of leads and prospects. This allowed us to get rolling from day one in an organized manner instead of having to manage different versions of a spreadsheet. ChapterBuilder has helped track different recruitment categories/stages that potential team members fall into, whether they need to be contacted, have shown interest, have applied, or waiting until next year, etc.

Matt: How has ChapterBuilder saved you time?  

Andrew: ChapterBuilder has streamlined our team’s recruitment efforts. The ability to call, text and email from one location saves time with each and every call. Having a record of each activity and notes by different staff has prevented any details from slipping through the cracks.

Basil: We [can] share more quickly what is working and what isn’t, so that we can move faster through the pipeline. We are excited that next year, we can look at the data to see how this changes our tactics so we can improve our effectiveness.